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  • 48 to film — behind the scenes at the 48 Hour Film Project

    By Amanda Mooney There’s a lot that goes into producing a film, and unless you are a filmmaker you really have no idea. Writing, casting, finding a location, shooting, and editing; each step of the process can take days, months, and sometimes years to complete. Can you imagine doing it ALL in just 48 hours? The 48 Hour Film Project is an annual competition that takes place all over the world in various cities. According to Mike Madigan, head of the Detroit 48 Hour chapter, the city is one of the largest participating in terms of the number of teams. The competing teams go in blind as to what kind of film they will be producing, with no creative planning beyond getting a cast and crew together, Madigan explained. “They pick a genre out of a hat, and they get a line, a prop, and a character. And they have to incorporate that within a short film, that’s usually between 4 to 7 minutes long. And they have the timeframe of doing it all within 48 hours,” said Madigan, “So all the creative process of it all has to happen within that 48 hour–writing a script, putting it together, editing–to […]

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  • Passalacqua debut dark new project ‘Church: Revival’ at new Hamtramck performance space

    Church: Revival is the new project by local rap duo Passalacqua (aka Bryan Lackner and Brent Smith), but it’s more than just a new Passalacqua release. The rappers teamed up with siblings Jax Anderson (frontwoman of rockers Flint Eastwood) and Seth Anderson, who together form the songwriting team called Syblyng (naturally). The result is a cycle of songs that promises to be darker than Passalacqua’s material so far. The project will make a live debut on Saturday, July 26 at a brand new venue space at the Detroit Bus Co.’s building Eight & Sand, and they will premiere the Right Bros.-directed video for the track “Baptism” as well. Other performances include Tunde Olaniran and Open Mike Eagle, and DJ sets by Nothing Elegant, Dante LaSalle, and Charles Trees. We met up the two duos at Eight & Sand to check out the new space and to talk about the project with all parties involved. Metro Times: How long have you been working together? Jax Anderson: Seth and I are constantly writing songs together. We want to push in the direction of becoming songwriters more frequently. This is our first project that we took on to co-write everything together. We’re basically just a songwriting entity. We won’t play live that […]

    The post Passalacqua debut dark new project ‘Church: Revival’ at new Hamtramck performance space appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • PETA offers to pay overdue water bills for Detroiters willing to go vegan

    #150207742 / gettyimages.com As locals continue to flood Detroit streets to protest the city’s ongoing water debacle, one national organization is hoping to be part of the solution — that is, for a dietary price. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, or PETA as the organization is more commonly known, has offered to pay outstanding water bills for 10 Detroiters who are willing to go vegan for one month. “Vegan meals take far less of a toll on the Earth’s resources,” PETA representatives said in a recent press release. “It takes about 2,500 gallons of water to produce just a pound of meat but only about 155 gallons of water to produce a pound of wheat.” PETA President Ingrid E. Newkirk adds, “Vegan meals are also a cost-effective way to help prevent health problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart conditions, the last thing that someone who is struggling financially needs to deal with.” Folks interested in participating are asked to send a copy of their most recent overdue water bill and their written pledge to go vegan for one month to PETA Attn: Detroit Water at 501 Front St., Norfolk, VA 23510 before Aug. 1.

    The post PETA offers to pay overdue water bills for Detroiters willing to go vegan appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Dinner Club Does Brunch

    Sure, The Dinner Club, a regularly occurring pop-up that takes places at the Storefront Gallery  in Ferndale (and other locations, occasionally), usually happens around dinner time, but this Sunday, July 27, there will be a special edition: Brunch Chef Matthew Baldridge, who’s resume includes stints at such Detroit greats as Cliff Bell’s, The Rattlesnake Club, and Seldom Blues, has crafted a menu of French-inspired items that employ locally procured ingredients. Brunch includes four courses where guests will be treated to such delights as cocoa, cinnamon, chili-spiced creamy grits with pickled strawberries, cocoa puffs and strawberry-infused syrup, a smoked gouda potato gallette with Faygo Root Beer braised pork belly, quail egg and Faygo Root Beer syrup, banana marscapone-filled French toast with fresh raspberries, whipped cream and balsamic syrup, and champagne-soaked strawberries. It is also important to note that brunch is BYOChampagne. Baldridge, along with The Storefront Gallery’s Derek John and Lilacpop Studio owner and artist Janna Coumoundouros, curate the event that includes an art show, a great playlist, and visuals. Brunch services are at 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. and last about two hours, only 20 seats are available at each service. The cost is $25 plus a service fee. The Storefront Gallery […]

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  • Jurassic 5 holds onto what’s golden

      By Ashley Zlatopolsky It’s been a little over twenty years since iconic ‘90s alternative hip-hop group Jurassic 5 first formed in Los Angeles’ Good Life club. Widely regarded as a pivotal influence in the decade’s underground hip-hop movement by critics and fans alike, the six-piece crew consisting of two DJs (Cut Chemist and DJ Nu-Mark) and four MCs (Akil, Zaakir, Marc 7 and Chali 2na) were well on their way to becoming one of hip-hop’s greatest and most powerful acts of all time, ranking alongside names such as Public Enemy and N.W.A. with socially-conscious lyrics and smooth beats paired with smart sampling. But in 2004, Cut Chemist left the group to pursue a solo career, and in 2007 Jurassic 5 completely called it quits after nearly 15 years of music. And that was it for the crew until 2013. After almost seven years apart (nine for Cut Chemist), Jurassic 5 reunited and re-emerged stronger than ever before with a new flair, seasoned attitude, and more vibrant energy at Coachella Music Festival, the group’s first show with the original six members since Cut Chemist split. During their performance, Jurassic 5 gave fans a memorable concert revisiting all the classic feel-good tracks […]

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  • Detroit Riverwalk west extension opens from Riverfront Towers to Rosa Parks

    Dogs of Detroit have new territory to trot: Yesterday, the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy held a soft opening for a 20-acre westward extension of the Riverwalk. Part of a planned two-mile track of the West Riverwalk, the new span runs from the Riverfront Towers to Rosa Parks Boulevard, says Mark Pasco, director of communications for the conservancy. “It’s going to be great,” Pasco says. “It’s a wide open green space. It’s going to be great for activities.” The endgame for the Riverwalk, Pasco notes, is to extend the walkway from the Ambassador Bridge to Gabriel Richard Park, just past the MacArthur Bridge — about a 5.5. mile route. The new westward expansion is wider than most of the walkway, about 30 feet, says Pasco — a decision made by the conservancy to accommodate fisherman that previously frequented the area. “We knew … once it opened up they’d want to fish there again, so we made the Riverwalk itself wider,” Pasco says. The conservancy will hold a grand opening in late September, which will include “food and music and activities,” Pasco says, though no official date has been set.

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Politics & Prejudices

Fools vs. scoundrels

Bob King's failed promise and labor's peril

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When Bob King became head of the incredible shrinking United Auto Workers union two years ago, the word was that he wanted to be the greatest UAW leader since the legendary Walter Reuther.

Instead, he seems more likely to be remembered as the worst leader the union has ever had, and he has a year and a half to go before the UAW will mercifully replace him.

The autoworkers union was well on its way to its all-time high of 1.5 million members when Reuther died in a plane crash near Pellston in 1970. Today, it has barely one-fourth of that. Actually, membership has risen a tiny bit in the last year, as the domestic automakers have come back from their near-death experience. But the union still has only 380,000 members, and about one-third of those are in non-automotive occupations.

Most new hires now come in at a second-class wage scale of less than $30,000 a year. Two-tier wage scales were one of the many things unions wanted to prevent, back in the day.

To which today's leaders say: Well, hey. Someday we'll be strong again.

When King got elected in June 2010, he vowed to pursue "equality of gain," under which the rich guys running the corporations would share their renewed profits with the workers.

Right. OK, if you are finished laughing bitterly, he also vowed to begin organizing the "transplants," the auto factories, mostly in the South, owned by foreign companies.

When King became president, the UAW represented workers at none of these plants. Today, well ... the union represents workers at none of these plants. The union was, however, reportedly handing out material a few months ago at a new Volkswagen plant in Tennessee.

Be still, my beating heart. The King-led UAW's biggest mistake, however, one that must have depleted the union's treasury, came this year. The UAW threw everything it had behind the drive to enshrine collective bargaining rights in the state constitution.

They spent millions. Opponents spent millions, and the unions lost, big-time. The collective bargaining amendment went down roughly 57 percent to 42 percent. Voters in Flint and Detroit supported it, and it got killed virtually everywhere else.

Not surprisingly, Republicans in the Legislature are now gleefully jumping on this as a chance to destroy unions once and for all, by making Michigan a "right-to-work" state, like Indiana.

That would mean the union shop, where all workers have to join a union, or agree to be represented by it, would be outlawed. For all practical purposes, that would mean unions would be absolutely powerless, and would probably soon become extinct.

State Rep. Mike Shirkey (R-Clarklake) is salivating over the prospect of introducing a RTW bill. Shirkey owns a nonunion rivet-making factory in Jackson County, and claims "businesses will not be able to survive unless they treat people right and pay people right."

Yes, I think that's what the owners of the Triangle Shirtwaist factory said, as they locked all those young women in before they burned to death in that famous fire in 1911. Shirkey seems to have gotten up a hate for union work rules when he worked half a year in some GM plants decades ago. Now, few would deny that there has been a lot of silliness and inefficiency in certain unions. But a lot of that has been wrung out of them, especially, perhaps, the battered UAW. American auto factories today aren't the same place as in 1970.

But there's no evidence that unions aren't needed, or that businesses flock to right-to-work states. Minnesota and Vermont, where unions are protected, have among the nation's lowest unemployment rates. Former Detroiter Art Kainz notes that his adopted North Carolina, a RTW state, has unemployment higher than Michigan's. There, he told me, Sunday a Japanese seatbelt manufacturer in Greensboro just announced plans to close.

Sayonara, job security.

Gov. Rick Snyder has repeatedly said right to work "is not on my agenda." But if an RTW bill lands on his desk, he is all but certain to sign it. There were reports late last week that he was open to trying to kill the bill if unions agreed to, essentially, roll over and play dead. 

My guess is that won't fly. Republicans have the votes either now or in the next session to pass right to work if they want to, possibly thanks again to the stupidity of Bob King and his sidekick, perpetual Democratic State Chair Mark Brewer. 

Imagine if the union had taken the money — as much as $20 million — spent on the collective bargaining amendment and used it instead on a carefully targeted attempt to win control of the Legislature.

Democrats did gain five seats in the House last month, after losing a staggering 20 seats, and control, two years before. But Republicans still control the chamber, 59 seats to 51.

Had a mere 3,000 votes switched in the right places, Democrats would now be able to block any of the GOP's crazier bills.

Last week, for example, Michigan refused to create a state-run health care exchange, to help uninsured residents and small businesses find health care policies, now that President Obama's affordable care act is kicking in.

Republicans are supposed to be for local control. But they refused to create a health care exchange, and left that to the federal government. Why? Because they don't like Obamacare.

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